March 27, 2019
Jesus said, “whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” Mt_5:17-19
When we were kids, our parents taught us the rules of the house. And when we broke those rules, we either hurt ourselves, or others, and usually got in all-kinds of trouble besides. When we got older there were new rules: rules for driving, rules for voting and rules for behavior in public. And when we broke those rules we found ourselves with either, great monetary penalties, or else time in jail.
Today’s Scriptures talk about rules that go all the way back to the time of Moses. You see, just like a caring parent who didn’t want her child hurt by doing something that they might not have even realized could hurt them; And just like the parent who needed their child to know – that their parent had a lot more experience in life, and so required that child’s respect and listening ear; And just like the parent who didn’t want their child hurting other children or the property that belonged to someone else; God gave His children, the Israelites, ten simple rules to guide their lives . . .
There were rules to show their respect for Him, there were rules to keep them from getting hurt themselves, and there were rules for not hurting others and their property.
And God told them that IF they carefully observed ALL those rules, Life for them – would go pretty well. Of course we know that there always were, and always will be – those rule-breakers who spoil it for everyone else. Unfortunately what their rule-breaking causes are more and more rules. And eventually the world is so full of rules that we can barely breathe any more.
Some of them are important for safety and for the protection of property. But some rules were just created out of greed or even created to allow the evils of the world to have their free rein.
Jesus told the people of His time that all of those rules could be simply broken down into TWO: Love your God and Love your neighbor.
If we, beloved, can boil down every thought and every action we do TO or FOR others – into those two loves, then every other rule in life will simply fall into place. Hatred will stop. There will be no more revenge, no more jealousy, and no more anger.
This is the kingdom that Jesus promises us. We may never see it, to the full, in this life, but it IS guaranteed in the next.
And that’s something to hope for!
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